Spitting on someone is widely considered to be extremely disrespectful, unsanitary, and rude. But is it actually illegal? In Colorado, spitting on another person may potentially be charged as a crime.
This article will explain Colorado laws regarding spitting on others, whether it is considered assault, potential charges and penalties, defenses, and what to do if you are accused of this act.
Is Spitting on Someone Considered Assault in Colorado?
In Colorado, spitting on someone else could potentially be charged as a type of assault.
Assault laws in Colorado prohibit intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to another person. Spitting does not necessarily cause bodily harm, but it can still be prosecuted as assault under certain circumstances.
Specifically, spitting on someone may qualify as:
- Simple assault – Knowingly or recklessly causing any physical contact with another person that a reasonable person would find insulting or offensive.
- Third-degree assault – Knowingly or recklessly causing harmless physical contact with another person they know or reasonably should know will be considered insulting or offensive.
So, while spitting itself may not directly injure the victim, the act of spitting saliva directly at someone else is highly likely to be considered offensive physical contact under Colorado law.
Is Spitting on Someone Considered Battery in Colorado?
In some states, spitting on someone may be charged as battery rather than assault.
Battery involves intentional, harmful, or offensive touching of another person without their consent. Spitting could potentially be considered offensive “touching”, even if indirect.
However, in Colorado, battery is not technically codified as a separate crime. Any intentional or reckless act causing bodily injury is prosecuted under the general assault statutes.
So spitting on someone in Colorado would most likely be charged as a type of assault rather than battery.
What Are the Penalties for Spitting on Someone in Colorado?
The penalties for spitting on another person depend on how the act is classified:
- Simple assault – Up to 6 months in jail, up to $750 fine, or both
- Third-degree assault – Up to 6 months in jail, up to $750 fine, or both
More severe assault charges are unlikely for a spitting incident that does not result in direct physical injury.
But spitting on others may justify enhanced penalties in certain situations, such as:
- The victim is a police officer or public servant
- The spitting occurs in a public place or gathering
- The spitter has a prior assault conviction
- The spitting is motivated by bias or hate
A skilled Colorado criminal defense attorney can argue to minimize charges and penalties for spitting allegations and help negotiate a fair outcome.
Is Spitting on Someone Considered Self-Defense in Colorado?
In general, self-defense requires a reasonable belief that force is necessary to prevent imminent bodily harm or a violent felony.
Spitting on someone is very unlikely to be justified as legal self-defense. However, there may be limited situations where spitting could potentially be used to defend oneself and avoid charges, such as:
- Spitting to distract an attacker about to assault you physically
- Spitting at someone who has you trapped in order to escape
- Spitting to thwart unlawful police action against you
The circumstances must clearly justify that spitting was objectively reasonable and necessary for self-protection. Simply being angry or provoked by another’s words or actions does not allow spitting in retaliation.
An assault and battery lawyer can advise whether a self-defense justification may apply to spitting allegations.
What to Do If You Are Accused of Spitting on Someone in Colorado
Being accused of spitting on someone can have severe legal consequences that could impact your criminal record, immigration status, employment, reputation, and finances.
Here are important steps to take if faced with allegations of spitting on another person in Colorado:
- Remain silent – Do not admit guilt or make statements to the police. You have the right to remain silent.
- Get legal help – Contact an experienced Colorado criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. They can protect your rights and build your defense.
- Preserve evidence – Gather any evidence, like video, witness statements, medical records, etc., that could help disprove the allegations.
- Consider mediation – Your lawyer may be able to negotiate a civil compromise or restorative justice resolution to avoid criminal charges.
- Create an alternative explanation – You may have spat accidentally or for an innocent reason. An alternative account can rebut accusations.
With an experienced attorney’s guidance, many spitting allegations can be reduced or dismissed and avoid a permanent criminal record. However, it is critical to involve legal counsel early in the process.
Contact a Colorado Defense Lawyer
If you have been accused of spitting on someone in Colorado, do not wait to get legal advice. The criminal defense lawyers at Right Law Group can immediately begin investigating the allegations against you, protect your rights, and fight to achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Let their team use their experience and resources to defend you against spitting or assault charges. Contact their team 24/7 for a free consultation and case evaluation.